[Federal Register Volume 79, Number 149 (Monday, August 4, 2014)]
[Notices]
[Pages 45223-45224]
From the Federal Register Online via the Government Printing Office [www.gpo.gov]
[FR Doc No: 2014-18303]


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NUCLEAR REGULATORY COMMISSION

[NRC-2014-0183]


Laboratory Investigations of Soils and Rocks for Engineering 
Analysis and Design of Nuclear Power Plants

AGENCY: Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

ACTION: Draft regulatory guide; request for comment.

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SUMMARY: The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) is issuing for 
public comment draft regulatory guide (DG), DG-1256, ``Laboratory 
Investigations of Soils and Rocks for Engineering Analysis and Design 
of Nuclear Power Plants.'' This guide describes a method that the NRC 
staff considers acceptable for use in the laboratory testing of soils 
and rocks needed to confirm the design and safety of nuclear power 
plants.

DATES: Submit comments by October 3, 2014. Comments received after this 
date will be considered if it is practical to do so, but the NRC is 
able to ensure consideration only for comments received on or before 
this date. Although a time limit is given, comments and suggestions in 
connection with items for inclusion in guides currently being developed 
or improvements in all published guides are encouraged at any time.

ADDRESSES: You may submit comments by any of the following methods 
(unless this document describes a different method for submitting 
comments on a specific subject):
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0183. Address 
questions about NRC dockets to Carol Gallagher; telephone: 301-287-
3422; email: Carol.Gallagher@nrc.gov. For technical questions, contact 
the individual(s) listed in the FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT section 
of this document.
     Mail comments to: Cindy Bladey, Office of Administration, 
Mail Stop: 3WFN 6A-44M, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, 
DC 20555-0001.
    For additional direction on accessing information and submitting 
comments, see ``Accessing Information and Submitting Comments'' in the 
SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION section of this document.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Scott Stovall, telephone: 301-251-
7922, email: scott.stoval@nrc.gov or Edward O'Donnell, telephone: 301-
251-7455, email: edward.odonnell@nrc.gov. Both of the Office of Nuclear 
Regulatory

[[Page 45224]]

Research, U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, Washington, DC 20555-
0001.

SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION: 

I. Obtaining Information and Submitting Comments

A. Obtaining Information

    Please refer to Docket ID NRC-2014-0183 when contacting the NRC 
about the availability of information regarding this document. You may 
obtain publicly-available information related to this document by any 
of the following methods:
     Federal Rulemaking Web site: Go to http://www.regulations.gov and search for Docket ID NRC-2014-0183.
     NRC's Agencywide Documents Access and Management System 
(ADAMS): You may access publicly available documents online in the NRC 
Library at http://www.nrc.gov/reading-rm/adams.html. To begin the 
search, select ``ADAMS Public Documents'' and then select ``Begin Web-
based ADAMS Search.'' For problems with ADAMS, please contact the NRC's 
Public Document Room (PDR) reference staff at 1-800-397-4209, 301-415-
4737, or by email to pdr.resource@nrc.gov. The draft regulatory guide 
is available electronically in ADAMS under Accession Number 
ML13186A032. The regulatory analysis may be found in ADAMS under 
Accession No. ML13186A034.
     NRC's PDR: You may examine and purchase copies of public 
documents at the NRC's PDR, Room O1-F21, One White Flint North, 11555 
Rockville Pike, Rockville, Maryland 20852.
    Regulatory guides are not copyrighted, and NRC approval is not 
required to reproduce them.

B. Submitting Comments

    Please include Docket ID NRC-2014-0183 in the subject line of your 
comment submission, in order to ensure that the NRC is able to make 
your comment submission available to the public in this docket.
    The NRC cautions you not to include identifying or contact 
information that you do not want to be publicly disclosed in your 
comment submission. The NRC will post all comment submissions at http://www.regulations.gov as well as enters the comment submissions into 
ADAMS. The NRC does not routinely edit comment submissions to remove 
identifying or contact information.
    If you are requesting or aggregating comments from other persons 
for submission to the NRC, then you should inform those persons not to 
include identifying or contact information that they do not want to be 
publicly disclosed in their comment submission. Your request should 
state that the NRC will not edit comment submissions to remove such 
information before making the comment submissions available to the 
public or entering the comment submissions into ADAMS.

II. Additional Information

    The NRC is issuing for public comment a DG in the NRC's 
``Regulatory Guide'' series. This series was developed to describe and 
make available to the public such information as methods that are 
acceptable to the NRC staff for implementing specific parts of the 
NRC's regulations, techniques that the staff uses in evaluating 
specific problems or postulated accidents, and data that the staff 
needs in its review of applications for permits and licenses.
    The DG, entitled, ``Laboratory Investigations of Soils and Rocks 
for Engineering Analysis and Design of Nuclear Power Plants,'' is 
proposed revision 3 of Regulatory Guide 1.138, dated December 2003, and 
it is temporarily identified by its task number, DG-1256. This DG 
describes laboratory investigations and testing practices acceptable to 
the NRC staff for determining soil and rock properties and 
characteristics needed for engineering analysis and design of 
foundations and earthworks for nuclear power plants. The DG was revised 
to reflect changes in standards for testing procedures developed since 
2003, and at the same time, the guide was re-formatted. The most 
significant change is in Section C.6.3, ``Resonant Column Tests,'' 
which provides an alternative method for resonant column and torsional 
shear testing of soil and rock samples.

III. Backfitting and Issue Finality

    Issuance of this DG in final form does not constitute backfitting 
as defined in 10 CFR 50.109 (the Backfit Rule) and is not otherwise 
inconsistent with the issue finality provisions in 10 CFR part 52. This 
DG would not apply to any construction permits, operating licenses, 
early site permits, limited work authorizations already issued under 10 
CFR 50.10 for which the NRC issued a final environmental impact 
statement (EIS) preceded by a draft EIS under 10 CFR 51.76 or 51.75, or 
combined licenses, any of which were issued by the NRC prior to 
issuance of the final regulatory guide. The NRC has already completed 
its siting determination for those construction permits, operating 
licenses, early site permits, limited work authorizations, and combined 
licenses. Therefore, no further NRC regulatory action on siting will 
occur for those licenses, permits, and authorizations, for which the 
guidance in the DG would be relevant, absent voluntary action by the 
licensees (e.g., license amendment, exemption request). Testing of 
soils and rocks for engineering analysis and design activities may be 
performed consistent with the licensing basis for each permit and 
license with respect to such testing; and need not comply with this 
regulatory guide. However, when a licensee or holder of an NRC 
regulatory approval voluntarily seeks a change to its license or 
regulatory approval for which new soils or rock testing is necessary 
and essential consideration of the NRC's evaluation of the change's 
acceptability, then the NRC may condition its approval on the 
licensee's or holder's agreement to conduct the soil or rock testing in 
accordance with the guidance in the DG (if finalized).
    Once finalized, the guidance in this regulatory guide may be 
applied to applications for early site permits, combined licenses, and 
limited work authorizations issued under 10 CFR 50.10 (including 
information under 10 CFR 51.49(b) or (f)), any of which are docketed 
and under review by the NRC as of the date of issuance of the final 
regulatory guide. The guidance in this regulatory guide may also be 
applied to applications for construction permits, early site permits, 
combined licenses, and limited work authorizations (including 
information under 10 CFR 51.49(b) or (f)), any of which are submitted 
after the issuance of the final regulatory guide. Such action does not 
constitute backfitting as defined in 10 CFR 50.109(a)(1) and is not 
otherwise inconsistent with the applicable issue finality provisions in 
10 CFR part 52. Applicants and potential applicants are not, with 
certain exceptions, protected by either the Backfit Rule or any issue 
finality provisions under part 52. Neither the Backfit Rule nor the 
issue finality provisions under part 52--with certain exclusions 
discussed below--were intended to every NRC action which substantially 
changes the expectations of current and future applicants.

    Dated at Rockville, Maryland, this 30th day of July, 2014.

    For the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.
Thomas H. Boyce,
Chief, Regulatory Guidance and Generic Issues Branch, Division of 
Engineering, Office of Nuclear Regulatory Research.
[FR Doc. 2014-18303 Filed 8-1-14; 8:45 am]
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